Common Garden Pests

a snail on a plant

Not all garden inhabitants are good. While some of them can be very beneficial, some are just plain parasites that harm your plants (and even you). To keep your garden safe and help it continuously thrive, every gardener must know how to avoid or remove these pests. But with the number of bugs, insects and other friendly creatures in a garden, it’s sometimes difficult to differentiate the good from the bad. Here are some common garden pests, how you can identify them, and how you can get rid of them in your garden

Aphids

One if the most common plant pest in the world with about 4000 different species. They favor feeding on new plant growth and feed by the cluster. They are small, soft bodied insects that can either be white, yellow, brown or green in color, depending on the species. They reproduce rapidly and when overpopulation occurs, some of these aphids develop wings (yikes!). Once they reach this level, they can be very harmful to the plant, stunting growth, reducing vigor and causing leaves to wilt, curl, and turn yellow. To control an aphid infestation, you can easily cut off heavily infested leaves and throw them away. For heavier infestations, you can try spraying botanical insecticides or introducing ladybugs in your garden. These ladybugs will feed and feed on your aphid colonies until none are left and the great thing about them is that you do not need to introduce harmful pesticides in your garden.

Blister Beetle

Not only do these beetles destroy crops and garden plants, they can be extremely toxic. When crushed, they secrete a blistering agent called catharidin, as the description suggests, contact with this fluid will destroy tissue. The secretion is so potent; it has been used in products for wart removal. This makes the Blister Beetle harmful to plants, humans and livestock that are near the infestation. When ingested, the catharidin toxin can damage the stomach lining and urinary tract, and can be lethal-even after dead bugs have dried out. the There are about 250 species of the Blister Beetle with varying size and color, and can sometimes be confused with the Asparagus Beetle, another garden pest. Most of these beetles are usually ½ to an inch long with long legs and antennae. Small infestations can be handled by hand picking, just be sure to wear protective gloves to avoid any injury. Put the beetles in a container with soapy water. For larger infestations, try adding diatomaceous earth around affected areas or a garden insect spray. Birds also play a good role in eliminating these beetles without the use of pesticides, invite birds in your garden by providing feed and water source.

Slugs and Snails

These slimy, creepy crawlers have earned quite a negative reputation for gardeners. Usually found in damp, shady areas, they lurk under rocks, heavily mulched, or shady areas in your garden. These nocturnal creatures while glide and slide along your garden, leaving a trail as they munch on seedlings, low hanging fruits and leafy vegetables and plants that they can reach. Handpicking can greatly reduce their numbers. You can also create a bait with shallow containers with beer. The yeast in the beer attracts them and will fall into the container and drown. Opting for rubber mulch instead of organic mulch will also lessen the dark, damp environment that slugs and snails love.

Termites

These wood munchers can create nests in the roots of your plants. While they mostly consume dead wood, some of them have been reported eat the plants and even crops like bell peppers. That and their nests nestling on your plant’s roots makes them vulnerable to other garden pests! Non chemical options include introducing beneficial nematodes in your garden. They seek out a wide range of garden pests including termites. Another alternative is to swap out organic mulch with rubber mulch to discourage termite infestation in your garden as they cannot feed on those.

 

There are many harmful pests that can grow and thrive in your garden. They will always find your garden as it begins to thrive or grow beautifully. The important part is taking precautions and learning to recognize the common culprits and nip their growth by the bud so that they do not create extensive damage.

 

Ten Great Water-Saving Gardening Ideas

picture of a dripping sink in a garden

In these times of drought, we all need to be smart about keeping our plants healthy – and not waste water at the same time. A thriving garden doesn’t require tons of water. It simply needs a smart gardener armed with practical ideas and frugal techniques.

 

To retain water, add compost to your soil

Organic composting helps amend your garden soil with nutrients so it can be fertile. It also traps moisture to help plants take root. Composting can be done even without an expensive bin. As an example, you can collect food scraps from your kitchen and take them straight into a compost pile.

 

Apply mulch to your soil

Mulch provides a protective layer that can prevent up to 70% of moisture from evaporating, especially on a hot day. After composting, apply an adequate layer of mulch to avoid water runoff. Mulching also keeps weeds from taking over precious soil space and vying for water and nutrients, which your growing plants badly need.

picture of brown rubber mulch

Have a strict AM and PM watering schedule

Keeping to a fixed routine can help you save water while optimizing root and plant growth. Gardens are best watered from early morning up until temperature begins to rise before noon because there is less evaporation then. If your plants are in pots and containers, they tend to dry out quickly so water them at noon and into the early afternoon.
Avoid watering at night – this can cause fungal growth because there is no sun to help evaporate excess moisture.

watering plants when there's sunlight

Know which plants to water at specific times

Of course, observing your plants for any sign of drought stress means you have to customize your watering schedule specifically around it. Knowing the types of plants and their developmental stages can also help you incrementally reduce watering. For instance, squash, melons, cucumbers, and other vine crops only need ample watering during their flowering and fruiting stages. Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants also do not need excess watering as they love the heat, and tend to bear more fruit in warmer weather.

 peppers

Avoid “thirsty” plants

If you’re starting a garden from scratch, it’s wise to go for plants that don’t “guzzle” water and require a lot of maintenance. Low-maintenance plants like succulents are ideal because they thrive in drought-like conditions, such as in deserts. Go for small plants and those with narrow leaves instead (ferns are a good example).

If your garden already has established plants that are slow-growing, fret not because those don’t require a lot of watering, either. Thirsty plants include big-leafed ones, ones that need constant fertilizing, and those that grow at a rapid rate or are newly-planted.  

 

Save kitchen and fish tank water

After boiling vegetables, don’t throw away the water in your pot. Let it cool before using it to water your plants. There are added vitamins and minerals in this water that can help nourish your plants. The same goes for water from your fish tank- it’s rich in phosphorous and nitrogen that can aid plant growth.

water in a pot

Choose drought-tolerant plants

In times of drought, think small. This means the smaller the produce, the bigger its chance of surviving hot weather. Think miniature bell peppers, eggplants, cherry tomatoes, and other vegetables that are tiny yet rich in nutrients, and actually flourish in heat.

someone holding cherry tomatoes

Other tried-and-tested drought-resistant produce include okra, Swiss chard, legumes like chickpea, lima beans and cow beans, mature rhubarb, chiles, cantaloupe, and herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, and lavender.

 

Collect rainwater in your garden

You can harvest water when it rains by using a plastic or metal barrel to collect roof runoff. You can place the barrel directly beneath a downspout so it collects most of the water and fills up quickly. Use a dipper to water the plants with, and keep the barrel covered to prevent insects and debris from getting into it. Doing these can significantly reduce your water bill, as opposed to relying on a garden hose for regular watering.

rain barrels collecting water

Select practical plant containers

The kind of pot or container you put your plant into can have a great effect on its growth and your gardening habits. Avoid metal containers because they will just take away the moisture from the soil in the container and create an overheated environment. Use them as decorative outer containers, instead.

 

Go for glazed pots. If you choose unglazed terra cotta ones, chances are the soil will dry faster in them because they’re porous. If you need to transplant seeds and starts outdoors, you buy coconut husk pots that decay when roots start taking hold, or biodegradable plant pots that allow you to bury them whole into the ground without replanting.

 

Group plants with similar water needs

In a drought, it’s no longer practical to plant in rows. It makes better sense to do block and grouped planting. The logic behind this is that the plants provide much-needed shade and nutrients for each other without competing for moisture and nourishment. A water-efficient garden layout can have blocks of similar-needs produce like cucumbers, squash, and zucchini – these vegetables require the same amount of watering. It may be tempting to add some cauliflower or broccoli into the mix, but as they need more room and are thirsty plants, they will create a problem with watering and nourishment.

 

Container Gardening for Dummies

 

gardening with containers

Container Gardening for Dummies

“Necessity is the mother of all invention”. With the rise of smaller spaces for urban dwellers, container gardening is probably one of the most creative alternative the modern gardener has come up with. It is flexible, portable, and can work with whatever space you have available. You can grow both ornamental and edible plants. One of the perks of container gardening include not having to do tedious preparations and weeding that the traditional garden calls for. Sounds interesting? Here are a few fail-safe suggestions on how to start and maintain your very own container garden:

flowers planted in containers

Tools for Your Garden

Since you will not be tilling the land and will not buse a lot of space, container gardening does not require a lot of tools. Most of the time, a trowel, a hand fork and some gloves will be all you need. When you get bigger plants that need pruning, this is when you’ll need a pair of sharp shears, for smaller plants that need trimming, a pair of sharp kitchen scissors can do the trick. You will also need potting mix. You need something that is already premixed instead of just soil as your plants will need all the nutrients it can get.

trowel for gardening

How to choose container garden pots

The fun part about container gardening is that it can be very affordable. You can use empty plastic bottles, you just need to poke holes in it for drainage. Or you can purchase specialty containers that can match your home’s interior design, your balcony or patio. Containers come in all shapes and sizes, what you need to put into consideration is the size of the plant as it grows and transfer to bigger pots when necessary.

How to choose your location

Sunlight is an important factor in gardening–even for container gardening. Find a suitable area in your home the gets an adequate amount of sunlight. The amount and strength of sunlight you can find available will determine what kind of plants can thrive in your environment. Spend a day in your home observing which areas get full afternoon sun, which ones get partial sun and areas with very little to none. If you find that you may have inadequate sunlight to properly grow plants, try looking into artificial light to substitute natural sunlight.

potted plants receiving sunlight

How to choose your plants

One of the most popular choices for container gardening are potted herbs. They’re compact, easy to grow, can be a good ornament to your kitchen, and are very aromatic..Some of the easiest herb to grow include basil, mint, rosemary, and thyme. Lettuces, tomatoes, and cucumbers are also a popular choice when you have a little more space to spare. It is also possible to grow dwarf varieties of trees such as apples, pear, and fig.

potted herbs

How to fertilize

As your plants are isolated from a big body of soil, your plants will need more consistent fertilizing. Start with a slow release fertilizer in your potting soil to ensure your plants are not starved. To complement this, you can add a fish emulsion or a diluted liquid fertilizer every few weeks. It is also wise to add a kind of mulch on top of your plants to prevent erosion.

Container gardening is not only for the urban gardener, it is also a good option when soil in your area can be problematic or have been exposed to diseases.  When in doubt, consult your local nursery or gardening shop on what seeds/seedlings they have available for your garden that can thrive in your area.

Which Garden Bugs are Good for Your Garden?

lady beetle perched on a blade of grassYou have just begun your new garden, and the seedlings have begun to thrive and flourish. This is the time when bugs, pests and other organisms begin to inhabit the new ecosystem that is your garden. Some of them will want to harm your plants and you will want to take those out. But, there are also bugs that are beneficial and are necessary in helping your garden flourish while keeping away pests or diseases that may endanger your plants. Also, they can completely replace the use of pesticides.

Here are some friendly bugs that can help your garden, how they can help, and how to identify them:

Lady Beetle

download

 

Famous for their red trunk and black spots, this lovely bug is the easiest to spot and is one of the most beneficial garden pet you can have. Both adult and larvae ladybugs feed on aphids, mites, and other soft bodied bugs that may be invading your garden. An adult lady beetle can eat up to 50 aphids in one day! Ask your garden center or local gardening store if they are selling some.

Ground Beetle

black beetle

Similar to lady beetles, these nocturnal creatures feed on slugs, snails, insect eggs and larvae. They are quite easy to notice as they can grow as big as ¾ inch, can be dark blue/dark brown and have long legs. Invite them to your garden by providing ground covers like logs or stones.

Lacewings

lacewings

 

Characterized by their large wings that look wispy and lace-like, this garden bug is a voracious predator that devours aphids, moth eggs, small caterpillars, and scales. When they are not pouncing on garden pests, they do love nectar. Plant a few flowering plants around your garden to attract Lacewings.

Dragonfly

dragonfly

There are a number of species of dragonflies around the world. Their distinct four transparent wings, large eyes, and narrow body make them easy to spot. Aside from being very beautiful, dragonflies feed on mosquitoes, aphids and other pests that may be wandering around your garden. A pond, or any small body of water where they can deposit their larvae will surely attract dragonflies in your area.

Honeybees

honey bee

Probably one of the most important bugs to invite to your garden, they do one of the most important tasks, pollinate many of your plants. These buzzing garden friends are easily identified by their thick balls of yellow fuzzy pollen near their heads and their gold and black stripes. Encourage wild honey bees to visit your garden by growing flowering plants. Not only will you be getting a garden pollinator, you will also be helping the dwindling population of these busy workers grow their numbers

Learning which bugs can help your garden and how to introduce them to your crops are a healthier alternative to using pesticide that may harm you and your family in the long run. Check out your local gardening shop, odds are they have their own nursery for these helpful bugs or will have the resources needed to attract them to your garden.

 

Raised Bed Gardens

Picture of a Raised Bed GardenHow to create a Raised Bed Garden

A raised garden bed is a must have for the advanced gardener. In a nutshell, a raised garden bed is like a huge plant box that offers a lot of benefits to the gardener by creating a controlled environment designed to provide a plant’s needs to grow better and yield more produce.

Ready to start creating a raised bed garden? Here’s how:

4×8 is an Ideal Size

After picking a free spot in your garden that gets plenty of sunlight, it’s time to measure your raised bed dimensions. 4 feet wide by 8 feet long is usually a good size because most lumber are sold in 4-feet or 8-feet increments. You don’t want to make your raised bed garden too big so you can plant a variety of plants that thrive in different soil mixes while avoiding spread of diseases. If you are planning on using a bigger part of your garden, consider creating multiple raised beds.

Multiple Raised Garden Beds

 

Prepare the Area
There are a couple of ways to prepare the area for your raised garden bed. The traditional method is called Double dig. It involves removing top soil and loosening the subsoil while replacing the top soil with organic matter. This can be quite labor-intensive but provides excellent irrigation, traps warmth in the soil, and allows deeper rooting for your plants. The minimum depth of your bed is around 6-12 inches

picture of someone double digging garden beds

 

Building your Bed
The bed can be made of timber and other types of woods like cedar, blocks, bricks or even plastic (faux) timber. Assemble the construction materials using screws or galvanized nails.

Woman assembling a garden bed

 

A Good Potting Mix is a Good Start
Some produce thrive better on acidic conditions, while others like a more alkaline environment. This is where you can make sure the plants get exactly what they need to thrive. Add your potting mix and start planting or transplanting your greens!

 

Plant in potting mix

 

Raised bed gardening allows the gardener to give their plants the environment it needs to thrive. It’s also a great option for areas that have problematic soil that are prone to pests, frost, nutrient-deficiency, and compacting.

 

Basic Gardening Tools

woman with basic gardening tools

Gardening can be beneficial in a number of ways. It’s therapeutic, meditative and brings us closer to Mother Nature. Some studies even show that getting your hands in the dirt can help boost the immune system.

 

The daunting part comes when you start getting the tools and products you need. “Will it be expensive?”, “What if I don’t have all the tools?” are some of the questions that make many soon-to-be-gardeners a little apprehensive. Some of us may have a limited amount of budget and that’s not a bad thing. Look at it this way, you can focus on the basics and build your way from there. With a limited budget in mind, here are 4 basic gardening tools that can help you get started.

Gardening Trowel

gardening trowel

One of the best multi-purpose tools that your garden can have. Usually a made with a forged blade with a wooden handle, this tool can be used to dig hard, rocky soil. The good thing about a good garden trowel is that it can double up as a shovel for small gardens, a weeder, and as a substitute for soil knives.  Look for pointy, scoop-shaped stainless steel blades that is sharp enough to function as a soil knife that is shaped well to sweep and gather soil properly.  

Gloves

 

Gardening without the proper equipment can leave you susceptible to allergens, bacteria and cuts from sharp rocks, thorns, or pointy foreign objects that may be in the soil. This makes a good pair of gardening gloves a good investment to keep your green hands safe. Look for a pair that is well knitted and lightweight. Leather is also a good material to look for as it helps provide a good grip.

gardening glovesFork

 

Another multi-purpose tool for the newbie gardener. A fork can work as an aerator and a soil cultivator. This also works great for mixing compost, wood chips, organic mulch and rubber mulch, wood chips, and manure. A smaller fork works best for small shrubs and flowerbeds. Looked for forged steel as they are stronger and more suitable for digging through compacted soil and hard rocks. This works hand in hand with your garden trowel.

Garden Shears

From pruning, trimming vines, cutting herbs, and even grass – just make sure to keep it clean in between uses. A good, lightweight pair of garden shears can go a long way. Sharp is the best trait your pruning shears can have. Sharp enough to create clean cut stems or vines to prevent diseases from infecting your plants. If you are suffering from arthritis, carpal tunnel or other physical ailments, many garden shears are designed with adjustable tensions and ergonomic grip to make the task easier.

 

Watering Can

watering can

A portable container with a spout is your best bet to make sure you water you plants deeply and evenly. The best part? You don’t necessary need to spend with this tool. All you need is some creativity to upcycle items that can be found at your home. You can piece hole on a used plastic bottle or recycle an old can and you’re set

That didn’t sound so expensive right? From there you can start building your tool collection as your garden grows. Looking for more tips to save on gardening? Here are 10 gardening hacks that can help without creating a huge dent on your wallet.

 

Vegetable Gardening Tips for Beginners

a bowl of vegetables

Vegetable Gardening Tips for Beginners

Growing your own vegetables can be very rewarding. You know exactly where your food is coming from, and you get them in their freshest state. Studies also show that horticulture can be very therapeutic. It is a great stress-reliever, improves mood, and overall mental health!

The best part? You do not need a green thumb or a backyard to get started. Here are a few tips to help you start your mini garden in with whatever space you have available.

Consider Indoor Gardening

The best part about bringing your plants inside is weather control. Prevent frost, too much sun or drowning your plants from harsh weather conditions by taking them in the comforts of your home. You can also benefit from the additional oxygen the vegetables produce.

Use Small Pots and Hanging Containers

These are great space-savers. Small pots are easy to move around, especially if you’re trying to give your plants more sunlight than your apartment could provide, while hanging containers take whatever free space you have above your head. If you have a wall in your house that is getting a lot of sun, look into installing a vertical garden and save the paint on that wall from fading from prolonged sun exposure.

Start with Plants that are Easy to Care For

Salad greens and lettuce are some of the easiest produce to grow and can still thrive even in partial shade.  Cherry tomatoes are small, flavorful, can grow in hanging containers. Cucumbers and other climbing vegetables will work great with vertical gardening. Once you’ve gained some confidence, you can try growing some strawberries in small pots or grow a variety of root crops like sweet potatoes, radishes or turnips in small buckets.

Use Good Quality Mulch

One of the challenges of indoor gardening is keeping the dirt in your pots and out of your living room floor. Constant watering and moving your plants around will erode and take out the nutrients in the container that your vegetables need to thrive. Mulching keeps all the dirt in place. While organic mulch are very cheap and easy to acquire, it decomposes quickly and some materials emit a sour smell that can spread in your house. Rubber mulch can help keep all the soil in place while matching your home décor. Make sure you invest in the high quality rubber mulch that has been stripped off of metal pieces and fine rubber particles.

Do not underwater/overwater your plants

This may be easy to overlook and is the usual culprit behind your nursery not providing a good harvest or worse: dying before they bear fruit. Water your plants at least once a week, more if the season is particularly dry and hot. A good rule of thumb is to lightly scratch the top of the soil, if it crumble give your vegetables a good watering. If it’s still moist, give it a day or two to absorb all the moisture in the soil.

Vegetable gardening can be truly satisfying without the need for a lot of space, equipment or experience. All you need to start is a lot of patience for trial and error and some TLC as you wait for harvest season. Happy Gardening!

Sources

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/vegetable-gardening-for-beginners.htm

http://lifehacker.com/the-seven-easiest-vegetables-to-grow-for-beginner-garde-1562176780

http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/vegetable-gardening/5069.html?SC=XNET9454

http://www.tastefulgarden.com/store/pc/Vegetable-Gardening-for-Beginners-d27.htm

http://learn.eartheasy.com/2014/09/6-unexpected-health-benefits-of-gardening/

http://www.schultesgreenhouse.com/Benefits.html

http://ahta.org/news/benefits-gardening-and-food-growing-health-and-wellbeing

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/07/08/why.gardening.good/

 

Five Creative Garden Party Ideas

table in a gardenSummer is almost here, so let the outdoor parties begin! A garden in full bloom or an immaculately trimmed lawn could already serve as pretty backdrops, but if you’re the creative type, you may want to up your outdoor decoration game a bit. Here are some great garden party decorating suggestions you could try for your next al fresco gathering.

 

Tell a little gardening story with your menu

 

Are you serving salad with ingredients from your own herb or vegetable garden? Tell the story of how they were lovingly planted and harvested with your guests in mind. You can make a short description of the salad in the menu by adding that they were grown in your own backyard. You can also serve up food buffet-style and label each dish with a framed text of how they were picked and prepared.

 

Intersperse potted succulents with cupcakes

 

Cupcakes and cacti: never the twain shall meet? On tiered cupcake holders, they can. Give your dessert table a fresh twist by arranging your favorite succulents in-between cupcakes or other sweet treats you are serving. If cactus isn’t your thing, you can place fresh flowers, instead.

 

“Float” flowers and candles in water as a centerpiece

candles floating in water

For romantic candle-lit dinners, look no further than your own flower beds for inspiration. Put some water in a long shallow dish – just enough to make votive candles and cut flowers float. You can also use bowls or other clear containers. The harmony of velvety petals, soft lighting, and reflections on the water will create a calming effect on guests.

 

Put up little canopies all over your garden

 

What is summer without a little picnic? Even a small shade is welcome if the sun is shining too brightly. Don’t worry if your garden or lawn doesn’t have trees: a piece of canvas stretched out with rope over your picnic spot should do the trick. You can also use beach umbrellas to provide shade for your guests.

 

Serve up fruit kebabs in a rainbow pattern

shish kabob

Fruits are sweetest and at their most succulent in the summer. Shine a spotlight on their juiciness and bright colors by serving them up in skewers at your party. You can follow a rainbow pattern by using strawberries or cherries first, followed by orange slices, then pineapple chunks, kiwi, blueberries, and grapes.

Organic Mulch vs. Inorganic Mulch

rubber mulch and wood mulch

Organic Versus Inorganic

Because organic mulches decompose, they need to be replaced.  Depending on the type of mulch used, replacement intervals vary from one to four years.

Biodegradable mulches

These break down gradually to release nutrients into the soil and help improve its structure. Layers will need replacing when the material has fully rotted down. Among the best materials are leaf mould, garden compost, spent mushroom compost, wood chippings, processed conifer bark, well rotted manure, straw (for strawberries), spent hops (poisonous if eaten by dogs) and seaweed.

Replenish mulch when there’s 1 inch or less of it. How often you need to replace it depends on how fast the material decomposes, exposure to the sun, temperature, the amount of rainfall, and the length of your growing season. Generally, I top off my mulch once a year. To keep from disturbing the soil, simply add another layer to the existing mulch.

Recycled rubber mulch is an attractive, durable alternative to traditional wood mulch, and can save money over time. Replacing mulch every year becomes time consuming and expensive. Compared with the expense of annually applying wood mulch, the up-front purchase of rubber mulch actually costs up to 65 percent less over a nominal five-year period.

Permanence

Organic mulches require annual replacement because they break down and decompose, eventually adding organic matter and nutrients into the soil. Bark and wood nuggets must be maintained at a depth of 2 inches to provide the best benefits, so fresh mulch must be added on top at least once a year to maintain this depth.

When to replace mulch in the garden depends a great deal upon the type of mulch and what you want to accomplish. Winter mulches should be removed in spring, after the danger of frost has passed, while summer and spring organic mulches are generally replaced annually. Many gardeners wait until after they prune to replace the mulch so that pruning cleanup and mulch replacement is combined into one task.

Maintain mulch. Replace mulch as needed during the growing season to maintain the 2- to 4-inch depth. Rake up and replace organic mulch in the spring, especially around roses and fruit trees.

 

http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/factsheets/tp_05_mulchbasics.html

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=323

http://www.finegardening.com/mulch-healthy-garden

http://www.ktvn.com/Global/story.asp?S=13356674

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/landscaping-ideas-mulch-vs-lava-rock-27885.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_7994040_replace-mulch.html

http://www.garden.org/howtos/index.php?q=show&id=1285

 

Designing a Drought-Resistant Lawn

Sprout coming out of cracked concrete

 

Widespread drought has cast a dark shadow on the gardening community. In these times of water conservation, many homeowners and institutions have come under fire for using sprinklers or garden hoses to water their lawns. Lawn maintenance and caring for one’s garden are in danger of becoming wasteful activities.

Fortunately, there are ways to still have a beautiful garden and keep it thriving without using up too much water. You can opt to make it a DIY project, or consult a professional gardener to draw up a plan for your drought-resistant lawn. Either way, the secret is in keeping everything practical and low-maintenance while creating visual panache.

Create texture with rocks and plants  

A smooth, well-manicured lawn is impractical during a drought because it is difficult to maintain with minimal water supplies. It is also hard to hide dry and barren patches on a flat lawn. Go for a mixed-garden bed instead. You can make up for possible visual gaps in your lawn with different textures and shapes. Sandstone boulders and paving stones can be interspersed with tall native grasses that do not require constant watering – plus they can prevent erosion while allowing rainwater to hydrate the soil.

Install a drip-irrigation system

Drip irrigation system

This is an effective way to keep your plants directly hydrated without wasting water the way a sprinkler system does. A drip-irrigation system can be adjusted to suit the season so you can take advantage of moisture from the cold months.

Choose drought-tolerant plants

There are low-maintenance plants that only need irrigation once every couple of months. Some drought-tolerant shrubs, trees, evergreens, and perennials include yarrow, Spanish lavender, African daisies, bottlebrush, rockroses, juniper, myrtle, oleander, bougainvillea, yellow bells, aloe, all manner of cacti, and most native plants. Many of these examples have minimal to moderate watering needs, come in a variety of colorful blooms attractive to hummingbirds and bees, and feature gorgeous textures and scents.

Use mulch to keep moisture locked in

rubber mulch

Black Rubber Mulch

Mulching is an effective solution to keep moisture locked in the soil where it needs it most. Rubber mulch is particularly reliable at keeping the soil and plant roots hydrated because it doesn’t retain moisture itself. Just two inches of mulch spread out evenly between plants can keep temperatures even and foliage healthy and thriving.

Select garden ornaments that provide shade while beautifying

Stone or wooden benches, birdbaths, gazebos, and sculpted garden ornaments not only add drama to your lawn, but also much-needed shade for grass and flowers. Keep textures and shapes varied to heighten visual appeal. It’s also good to consider how these ornaments can catch rainwater for plants, the way sloping stones, fountains, and ponds do.

 

Resources:

http://www.sunset.com/garden/landscaping-design/drought-resistant-plants/drought-resistant-plants-lawn-alternative

http://www.sunset.com/garden/flowers-plants/water-wise-plants/low-water-plants

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/landscaping-projects/landscape-basics/drought-tolerant-landscaping-ideas/